Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dear Red Sox

You just broke my heart.....will probably take 86 years to mend.....

Maria the Mum

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reason #37 I should be Mother of the Year

I like breakfast time at our house. The three of us start the day off with a meal together, some laughs and giggles, maybe an occasional meltdown, discussion of what we;ll do that day and that evening, sometimes we tease Lucy...or Lucy and Daddy tease me or Lucy and I tease Daddy....sometimes we have to rush because we're running late or I did not do what I was supposed to do the night before (at 11pm last night, I realized I forgot to make Lucy's lunch! But that is not reason 37...that's reason 38)
But mostly, breakfast time is just a good time of day for the three of us.....

We usually have cereal - sometimes we mix it up: Sean and Lucy will have waffles or I'll have hard boiled eggs or Lucy wants scrambled eggs......but usually, its cereal.

Lucy has taken to eating whatever cereals Sean and I are having - one week she'll want Daddy's cereal, the next week, she wants mine. The past few mornings, not only has she decided she wants my cereal but she wants to share it with me out of my bowl while on my lap....and yes, I indugle her and no, this is not an every day thing and no, I am not worried about any long term impact it will have on her because things like this don't screw up kids.

I discovered this fantastic cereal last week in Market Basket, Fiber One Honey Squares. It is super good...filling, sweet and only 80 calories. Lucy quite likes it too...we had it Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday....

Tuesday, when I picked Lucy up from Day Care, Jackie says to me
Rika wanted me to let you know that Lucy had a couple bad poops - one of them was pretty bad, like diarrhea bad. The second one was just a big poop..but she seems to feel fine and she had a great day.....but we did want to let you know just in case...

Now as Jackie is saying this, my mind starts reeling.....Sunday she had a couple really BIG industrial of which required me hosing her off in the tub...but she felt fine...and, she's been farting/tooting/passing gas like crazy for the past couple she getting sick? What's wrong with my...Holy shit....I interrupt my own thought process....

I blurt out:
It's my fault, its all my fault!

Jackie looks at me and say comfortingly, What? What's wrong? No, I'm sure it's not.....

It is! It's my fault Lucy is pooping so badly. Oh my God. It's my fault...I am so sorry....I've been letting her eat my Fiber One cereal!!!! She's pooping because I've been giving her Fiber One cereal at breakfast for FOUR DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!

And that ladies and gentlemen is Reason #37 I should be Mother of the Year.......

Maria the Mum

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An Open Letter to the Red Sox

Dear Theo, Tito and Captain Tek:

My daughter Lucy is two and a half years old and like her Dad and me, is a Red Sox fan.

Her Red Sox shirts are her favorite and when she sees someone in a red shirt, with or without the ever familiar B, she yells out Red Sox! and she raises her hands above her head and gives a little whoop and a cheer.

When we leave the house, she chooses to wear her Red Sox cap ……and not the fake girly pink ones, a proper blue hat with a red B, she would not have it any other way

When we ask her what she wants to watch, or when she's bored with Yo Gabba Gabba and Blue's Clues, she'll suggest we turn on the baseball game……she has no idea if you’re playing or not but she likes having the ball game on....I think maybe Jerry makes her laugh

When she sees a baseball or baseball being played, she yells Red Sox! It does not matter who is playing, you are baseball to her…..

Lucy is a fan....and though not your biggest or smallest fan, she is a fan and has some advice for you via her Mum.

She actually first uttered these words last week when, after watching the highlights, I turned the news off and muttered something about you not trying and Lucy pipes up, referencing a Winnie the Pooh book we read her called Try ,Try Again:

They should try hard like Pooh did when he was trying to write his name
Pooh kept trying and he did it Mama! He wrote his name!
Keep Trying Red Sox! You can do it!

O Captain my Captain, please get your idiots to try.
Call upon the luck of 2007, the Spirit of 2004…
Call upon the ghosts of 1918, conjure up the souls of 1916….
Beckon the fates of 1915, relive the memories of 1912, relish 1903…..

This morning, as Sean and I lamented last night’s loss, Tampa’s win and the looming end of the season, I asked Lucy

What do the Red Sox need to do Lucy?
Mama! They need to….Keep trying, keep trying don’t give up never give up! Just like on Gabba Gabba Mama! (for the record, she sang this…..)
Keep trying! Don’t give up Red Sox!

Do whatever you have to do…..
Sacrifice whatever you have to sacrifice....
See a shrink….or a witch doctor…… or a priest
Practice hitting….or fielding…or voodoo….or stealing and sliding...
Rub your bats with chicken bones...sprinkle Holy Water on the field....wear the same underwear you wore in Sunday night's game....

But please, above all, do as Lucy is asking…..

Please, just keep trying…don’t give up…you have two tries left….just try, try again….
Love Maria the Mum…and Lucy

Hello Tuesday!

I woke up late this morning…well, actually, I woke up early because some who shall not be named (Lucy Ellen Sykes) was kicking me. She was kicking me because at 2:30am, she called out. It was that shrill something is wrong cry. When I got to her, she informed me she had a bad dream about spiders.

There was no getting her back in her bed so I brought her in our room. She snuggled against me and, I thought, was drifting off to sleep when she says to me

Mama, I wanna watch something
Lucy, it is 3 in the morning, we are not watching anything. Go to sleep honey
OK Mama
And she snuggled closer

That’s my Daddy she says to me while patting Sean’s head
Yes it is honey. Daddy’s sleeping so how about Mummy and Lucy go to sleep too?
OK Mama.
She snuggled closer…then started tossing and turning and wiggling and shifting

She’d lie on top of me, then on top of Sean. She snuggled against me then she’d flip over and snuggle against Sean

Then she started kicking…at one point, I was on my side literally at the edge of the bed and I’m pretty sure Sean was as well.

She finally drifted off to sleep but by then, my alarm was going off to wake me up for my walk.
4:45…though my clock says 5:15, it’s a half hour fast and so is my alarm…please, don’t ask, somehow it all works for me and makes sense in my head.

I roll out of bed, and not wanting to wake Sir Snores-a-Lot and Lady Kick-a-Poo, grab my gym clothes from the foot of the bed and make my way downstairs to change in the bathroom.

Unfortunately, I did not grab all my clothes; I have my T-shirt and sports bra, Sean’s workout shorts and my camisole top, and socks…..but no pants….

So socks and shirt on, I wander out to the kitchen, see it’s just barely 5am and decide to lie on the couch for a 20 minute cat nap before I go get my pants and then go out to meet Kristen at 5:30

42 minutes later, I wake up as I’m falling from the couch to the floor. I land with a thud, shake it off and then realize I’m on the couch (well, now the floor) not in bed, I’m wearing my t-shirt not my night gown, I have socks on and, I’m all tangled up in the blanket and my glasses are askew on my face

Shit. Kristen. Our walk.

I trip up the stairs, grab my pants, try to wiggle into them while going down the stairs and then yank open the door (hitting myself with it of course) and tug my sneakers on as I try to jog over to Kristen’s…..which is when I realized my pants were on inside out but it’s still dark, no one will notice

We got a 15 minute walk in and I’m not 100% sure I was awake for it

I walk in the house at 6:02, Sean is not up yet. I take a quick shower, then Sean goes in, Lucy is up and proceeds to have a mini temper tantrum…actually, that’s not fair to say. I think poor Lucy is just not a good morning person. Sometimes, she wakes up no problem…she's bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to take on the world. Sometimes, she wakes up and has to be grumpy (read whiney and crying) for 20 minutes just to get her blood pumping. This morning, she’s grumpy. We work around it taking turns getting ready and trying to talk her off the ledge. We do just fine and within 25 minutes, Lucy is smiling, Sean is dressed and we’re headed down for breakfast.

I was not dressed because the clothes I ironed last night were still in the basement. Sean went down to fetch them for me and I got dressed in the living room……

I pulled my linen trousers with the tie waist and noticed they were a bit tight in the waist and across my bum....Come on?!?.....I'm getting fatter?!?!

Are you kidding me???

I've been walking very morning, 1/2 hour, brisk pace....going to the gym at least three times a week...we've been watching what we eat....Though Sunday, Kristen made an apple pie and had a couple pieces left over and knowing how much Sean loves apple pie, she brought it over for us. And I had a piece because he inhaled her last apple pie and said it was really good....I wanted to know what all the fuss was and frankly, I wanted something was really now my pants are tight because I had one piece of apple pie?!?!

Come on!!!!

I've avoided the cupcakes, candy and cookies at work (work is always harder than home for me) I make our lunches everyday and our portions are getting smaller....So why are my ass and waist getting bigger???????

I comment that my pants feel tight and go to stick my hands in my pockets....what the what?!? Where are my pockets....wait, where is the tie.......what the....

My pants are on backwards...I put my pants on backwards

Thank God and Baby Jesus! I'm not getting chubbier; I just put my pants on backwards

Breakfast with Lucy and Sean (25/30 of my favorite minutes in the morning) Lunches out of the refrigerator, Lucy’s bag packed, coffee to go made. Sean takes the bags to the car, I get Lucy dressed, we have time to sing two Beatles songs and I am out the door on time!

I get in the car and can’t find my phone.

My phone and I don't always get's forever running off on me and I am forever leaving it behind (read losing it) And watching me text is worse than having a tooth extracted...and if I’m on the phone and get a second call, forget about me trying to click over....and I am constantly hitting the speaker button and then can't figure out how to turn it off.

And using it to take pictures? Please, I keep getting this message about not enough memory but I don’t know where or how to get more

Sean has given up on me and phones; now, watching me look for/use my phone is nothing but sheer amusement for him.

But I need my phone, it’s the number day care calls if they need anything. And when I get in the car each morning, I always reach into my purse to make sure it’s there – sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. This morning it wasn’t.

I empty my purse on the passenger phone.

I empty the tote bag which holds my purse and the mail, books for Lucy, snacks for Lucy, magazines, bills that need to be paid, cards I need to never know when you’re gonna have to phone.

I look in the glove box, the console between the seats, under the seats….no phone.

I dash into the house, check the basket where we put our keys, look on the kitchen table, the side board and the trunk by the front phone.

Lucy and Sean are on the couch reading a book.

I can’t find my phone I announce
No kidding says Sean. Call it honey

I call it - I hear it ringing so it’s in the house but I can’t quite figure out where it’s coming from....

Somewhere in the living room...
Maybe in the recliner……no
The bookshelf……no
Sounds like it in Lucy's toy bin...I crouch trainers are on the floor in front of Lucy’s toy bin where I dropped them when I got in from the gym last night. I push them out of the way, one tips over and the ringing gets louder…..

Oh, here it is! I found my phone I say all proud. It was in my shoe!

Of course, says Sean, makes perfect sense your phone is in your shoe.......

Sadly, it does.......

Maria the Mum

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sweet and Sassy

So sweet......
As told to me by Lucy's teacher on Friday:
The kids were playing and talking about their siblings. They were saying I have a little sister or brother or I have a big sister or brother. Lucy was quiet and just listened as the other kids talked about their sibling(s)
Lucy, with great care and thought, pipes up and says
Rika, I no have a brother or sister....but I have my animals!

So sassy....
As said to me by Lucy as I was cleaning the windows:
Mama, what are you doing?
Cleaning Lucy, I'm washing the windows...
Oh, I never saw you do that before!
Do what?
Clean Mama!

Maria the Mum

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Your Uncle's Will

A prompt from Brian Klems at Writers (which I did not post there because I could not get it down to 500 from 895 words...I did get it to 694 but 500 alludes me)
The prompt was as follows:

After living for years paycheck to paycheck, a windfall of money comes your way from a distant uncle. But in order to receive the money, you must complete a mission from your uncle’s will. What’s the mission and did you do it?

Uncle Michael is the uncle who would leave behind millions and though he is not a distant Uncle, that is to say he married into the family and only lives 50 miles away, he is the uncle who would in fact challenge you to complete some crazy off the wall task to earn the money
And yes, for him, I would do anything.

Uncle Michael was married to my mother’s sister and after the divorce, he is still Uncle Michael and she is she-who-shall-not-be-named. They did not divorce until I was in my 20’s and when we were kids, we would go off to Uncle Michael’s house for weeks at a time during the summer.

Uncle Michael worked at night and she worked during the day so he was the one who took care of us, she just yelled at us a lot.
Uncle Michael let us build forts in the living room using every single sheet, blanket, afghan and towel in the house….and then took the brunt of the Aunt’s wrath

He taught us to dive and made up crazy games for the pool like jumping off the diving board landing in the inner tube (on your bum without tipping it over) while trying to catch a ball being thrown at you from the opposite end of the pool. He also filled the hot tub with dish soap and let us play in the bubbles.
Uncle Michael bought a hot dog steamer because he got tired of making us sandwiches for lunch….we ate hot dogs all day long all summer long

He told us about the ghost, Grace Peasley, who lived in his house and put a clock under one of the beds and told us it was her heart beating….we believed him
Uncle Michael was nicknamed Uncle Buck. One of us kids did not want breakfast, he convinced her to eat at least one pancake, she agreed. So Uncle Michael found the largest frying pan in the house and made her one pancake….Uncle Buck style!

He let us play in the coal bin and when his new Playboy magazine came in the mail, he let us find the bunny on the front cover.
Uncle Michael’s house was called Camp I Don’t Wanna Go Home; he had tee shirts made up for us.

He introduced us to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, F Troop, Hogan’s Heroes and Hill Street Blues, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. To this day, when I watch any of those, I think of Uncle Michael.
Uncle Michael is the uncle who, three years ago, sent all sevens of us kids a package with instructions to not open it until a certain date at a certain time….and amazingly, we all obliged!

He taught me to drive in his pick-up truck and did not yell at me when I failed my driving test which she made me take in her car that I had never driven before.
Uncle Michael was at Parent’s Weekend my Freshmen Year in college, both my graduations, my wedding and one of the first people I called when I found out I was pregnant.

He is the uncle who was always taking photographs and years later, presented my mother with boxes and boxes of photos of us as kids
Uncle Michael is the uncle, who though not so distant, loved us kids so much, and still does, would leave us millions, and any one of us would do anything for it…not because we want the money, but because Uncle Michael is asking us to.

The mission: I think he’d build some fantastical set somewhere, adorn it with pictures from our lives and send us on some crazy scavenger hunt with all the answers being found in the photographs. The hunt would be to solve riddles and rhymes and then find the picture that corresponds with it or to find an object in a photo. And he would do this so he could remind us how much we mean to him and so we would never forget how much he means to us.
Or, he’d make us find the bunnies on the covers of a stack of old Playboys

Maria the Mum

Can I get a Do Over?

Today is what I like to call a do-over day….and its only 9:36am

Lucy woke up in a seemingly good mood – a trite early but in a good mood.
 Me? I just woke up – not a good mood, not a bad mood, I just woke up.

Did my half hour walk…but had to fight with myself to get out the door – I really would have loved another 30 minutes of sleep and solitude.
 Sean set the breakfast table while I showered and by 6:20, we were all sitting down for the most important meal of the day.

Sean was having granola, Lucy was having Loop Loops (Fruit Loops) and I too was having Loop Loops courtesy of Lucy.

Lucy helped me pour the milk into her cereal, then mine, and then we had to do Daddy’s…..that was when she noticed he had raisins in his cereal and she did not. She demanded raisins; we were out of them so we substituted dried cranberries which she also loves….and breakfast continued…
Lucy practiced her macaroni and cheese smile (its picture day at school and when Lucy has her picture taken, she does not just bust out with cheese, she gives you MACARONI AND CHEEEEESSSSEEEE!!!!) and we chatted about what she was going to do at school today (read books, play, pump on the swings). Though she refused her Loop Loops, she ate handfuls of cranberries and she has a second breakfast at school so we weren’t bothered….nor was she….until it was time to go upstairs and get dressed.

Next thing we know, we have a full blown melt down on our hands……like The Hurt Locker incident.
It started because Lucy wanted to read a book, I vetoed the book and said after you brush your teeth and get dressed, you and Daddy can read books…but right now, upstairs to brush teeth and get dressed.
Wailing, crying and body flinging ensued. I lost my patience as I needed to get out the door for work but when I made a move for the door, the screaming intensified….

Sure, I could have left, there is no doubt in my mind that Sean could have handled it. But I did not leave….for two reasons: as pissed off as I was that she was having a meltdown for no reason, I could not leave her in such a state. I would have left feeling guilty and angry that I left Lucy behind so upset. And leave with no good bye kiss? No way Jose. Secondly, I did not feel like it was fair to leave Sean on his own with a stark raving mad lunatic. Again, I’m sure he could have handled it but I would have felt guilty leaving him there on his own.
Somehow, I got her upstairs….and somehow, through clenched teeth, a raised voice and one forceful push on her legs to stop the kicking, I got her diaper changed and clothes on. At this point, I could have cared less if we brushed her teeth but she picked up her teeth brush as I convinced her to catch a sugar bug or two and scare Daddy with them….she loves catching sugar bugs and was immediately keen on the idea.  

And now, when we catch them, we hold up the toothbrush to look at them and they sometimes ”scare us” (which is Mummy really making a boo like sound while making the toothbrush jump)…which is what we were going to do to Daddy because he gets scared the best jumping a mile high and pulling a fantastically funny frightened face and Lucy collapses in piles of giggles every time he does it…..

Well, I apparently was a bit to overzealous with my sugar bug boo….upon scaring Daddy, I triggered Lucy and more crying and wailing ensued. I scooped her up and carried her downstairs to get her shoes on and she was wailing about how the sugar bugs scared her…so I cuddled her and snuggled her and told her the bugs and Mummy were terribly sorry… now, I’m 10 minutes late leaving.
 We get out the door

I kiss my family, get in the car, and start to pull away when Lucy decides she needs more kisses....and then falls on her ass in the wet (and muddy) grass.
I thought poor Sean was going to lose it
It looks more wet than dirty to me, I say. Besides, who cares, pictures are from the waist up….
But I think he was more worried about her being wet. Well, take an extra pair of pants and have them change her at school….that's all I got as now, we're all late leaving.....
Commute in: I was late. I got stuck behind the buses (I pass 4 schools on my way to work – I thought it was only 3 but I counted this morning…I had time…) I got stuck behind a Volvo going 12 miles per hour…because he was shaving. I pass the Volvo and then get stuck behind a big old dump truck which at one point, with minimal warning, stopped and started to back up….fast....then went back into drive and only to stop short again.

I arrive at work – late – though technically not late because really, I don’t start until 8…..but I’ve been trying to get in early as I want to switch my hours and need to prove I can consistently make it in early….plus, as I’ve said before, I don’t want anyone to figure out that I’m still struggling to balance work and home.
My work day started with my answering emails.

The first three I had to read twice because I could not believe I was being asked such asinine questions. Questions that if the person had been standing in front of me I probably would have asked him if he was being serious or puling my leg....but I know he was serious because as I was reading said emails, he called to make sure I was reading his emails and could answer his questiosn.

The forurth email was a request to do something that did not make sense to me. So I called the requestor to see if what he was asking me to do was really what he wanted me to do (it wasn’t) Then, I spent the next ten minutes trying to figure out what it was in fact he needed me to do (I guess I'm not sure) So then I had to figure out what it was he was supposed to do by reading the communications he had with the firm requesting the information and action.

Meanwhile, someone walks into my office telling me the same person I was just speaking with asked yesterday for the same information he asked me for…so I needed to turn it over.

I said it’s not what he needs, he actually needs...but I was interrupted and countered with well its what he asked me for…I understand that I say, but it’s not what he needs. I’ve already spoken to him and I’ll take care of it.

But he told me to do it!

Ok, I get that but you're taking care of it is coming to me for the information and I'm telling you that based on my conversation with him and the requesting firm, what he asked us for yesterday is not what he needs...…….to which I get attitude, an eye roll and a stomp out of my office....

Then I get a phone call from the owner who is at the car dealership trying to get his car straightened out. The dealer was supposed to email me something yesterday and I kept telling my boss (yesterday) I did not get it. I knew he needed it for this morning but he was not overly concerned….I should have known better but I let it go.
So he calls from the dealer this morning and says in a clipped tone the dealer says he emailed the paperwork to you yesterday and you did not return it.
Well, I did not get it I say……

He says he emailed it

I understand that but I’m afraid I did not get it. Can you confirm the address he used?

I’m put on speaker phone and I ask the dealer to confirm the address he used.

I used the one I was given he says
Can you tell me what that was?
Ok, I say..Clearly I need to be more specific.

Can you tell me how you spelled my name?
Like it sounds

Seriously?!? I totally want to reach through the phone and punch this guy
 Did you use .net or .com (we are .net and people always use .com)

I used .net, like I was told! I know how to send an email!

Ok, I was just checking, sometimes people accidentally use .com out of habit
You think I’ve never seen .net before?

I can’t believe this guy makes a living selling cars…dealing with people….charming people…
How did you spell refrigeration?

You think I can’t spell.
No Mr Dealer but, I think that when people try to email us, they make two common mistakes: they use .com instead of .net and they spell refrigeration with a D and there is no D in refrigeration

Well, I know how to spell.
Ok, can you tell me how you spelled refrigeration?

Correctly he says
Then I hear my boss say, No you didn’t! She’s right! You spelled it with a D. RESEND IT!

So he resends it…with no attachment
So I email him back, I try to call him (cell and desk) no answer, no response.

So I call my boss – there’s no attachment I say
Are you kidding me? he says

No, I say, today is not a kidding around kind of day….I am not kidding. Can you ask him to re-send?
I might punch him my boss says

I’ll bail you out I say
So I finally get the form, fill it out and have it back in their hands within ten minutes

The majority of people in the office are grumpy as are the people on the other end of the phone I’ve dealt with today. I may stop answering the phone. I also had a salesperson, just minutes before 8am, walk in off the street only to be highly offended when I rebuked his sales he told me I was mean……
I did not think I was mean, I just told him I appreciated his stopping by but did not have the time to sit with him and if he wanted to leave some information, if I was interested, I could call him and make an appointment for him to come back…
He kept telling me I did not need to be so rude……so I pointed out I would not have to be so rude and or mean if he could read as there is a big NO SOLICITATION sign on the front door…he said he did not think it pertained to him…I’m not sure why he did not think it pertained to him but I wish I had the confidence he has to decided what does and does not pertain to me……and to tell people so
All this and its only 9:36am…
To boot, I spilled coffee on my shoulder (not sure how I did that but there was coffee on my left shoulder and it was hot…and wet), my new computer has crashed twice (once while I was in the middle of a report that I started putting together yesterday and finished this morning when a stroke of genius hit me), my shoes are squeaking and though I know I should be grateful for this, my shirt is now too big and I look like a big unkempt blueberry (my shirt is blue, like blueberry blue)
So...can I get a Do Over? Or a drink?

Maybe I'll move to Australia........

Maria the Mum

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Play by Play

Wrote this last week and never posted......

Lucy peed on the potty the other  morning and was really quite proud. Apparently, when her teacher Rika arrived, Lucy was right there to pounce on her and shout
Rika! I peed on the potty!!!

And yes, it was just one time...isolated? I hope not because frankly, as much as I don't want her to grow up, her diaper pail is really starting to smell and no amount of bleach and Lysol is killing the stench

Anyway, when we got home that night, she spotted Kristen across the way......and as soon as her feet hit the ground, she was off and running towards Kristen to share the good news...

Kristen, I peed on the potty!!!!
You did?!?! Good job Lucy! Come on in and tell me all about it!

So Kristen settled in to hear Lucy's play by play of how she peed on the potty...(in her most serious big girl tone) it went something like this:

I moved my potty (to where she wanted it)
I took off my pants and put them in the bin (the laundry basket)
I took off my diaper
I sat down
I parted my legs
And then I peed!

Parted her legs?!?!
Parted her legs?
What does that  mean Kristen asked me?
I have no idea....

While Lucy was eating her dinner, I asked her what she meant when she said she parted her legs

Mama, I had to look and make sure the pee pee was coming out....okay?
Oh, okay Lucy
How do you know if the pee pee comes out if you don't part your legs?
Uhh, I don't know Lucy...

I may need to buy a potty training book....

Maria the Mum

Morning Breath

Kristen and I have been getting up in the morning and walking.
We meet at 5:30, walk briskly for 1/2 hour and then go home.

This morning, I woke up at 5:24...I'd been doing pretty well springing out of bed at 5am, brushing my teeth (at least swishing with some mouth wash), throwing in a load of laundry (or taking a load out) ironing my clothes for the day (because I was too lazy to do it the night before) and packing my gym bag and Sean's for the day....but this morning, all I could do was throw on my gym clothes, grab a bottle of water and dash out the door...I was tired

We walk the Circle we live in (or is it the Circle we live on...) - we're closing in on two miles (Kristen walks super fast and my huffing and puffing has not slowed her down...which is good because its motivating me...killing me but motivating nonetheless)

Anyway,we're walking the circle, gossiping and as 6am approaches, I can hear Lucy from the bedroom yelling for me. We end our walk and I dash up the stairs to see she and Sean. Sean was getting in the shower and Lucy was still in wake up mode so I laid down on the bed beside her

Morning Baby!
Hi Mama
How did you sleep? I love you....

Lucy let out a sigh as she stretched her body and raised her arms above her head.....

Mama! You stinky!
I stink?
Yeah Mama! You breath is stinky! Get away!

I walked into the bathroom, threw the shower curtain open and demanded Sean smell my breath...

Lucy staid I stink! My breath! Does it?

I breathed right in his face.....he passed out

Sorry about my morning breath Kristen; next time, I'll be late for the sake of brushing my teeth.....

Maria the Mum

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What's in a name

This post is most likely going cost me a few dollars in the bad word jar - and at least 5 Hail Marys

A woman I know is pregnant. I saw her this morning and she informed me she and her husband had settled on a name for the baby.

That's nice I said, congratulations

Yeah, its a good name......

I think she was waiting for me to ask the name but, and I know this sounds terrible, I had no interest in knowing the name. Look, she's blessed to be having a baby (her second) but frankly, she and her husband are not the kind of people I choose to keep company with - the less I know about them and the less they know about me, the better off we all are.
I'm sure they are a good son and daughter to their parents and good friends to people they surround themselves with but they've never been very nice to me - and their values are...well, different from mine....I guess that's what a cup coffee and a 12 year age difference will get you.

Why did you name Lucy Lucy she blurted?

We liked the name I said simply

That's it?

Uhhh...yeah? Why, should there be more of a reason?

Well yeah, she replied, you should give your kid a name that's cool, you know that will make them stand out...a name that's unique to them....can't be the cool kid without a good name!

I fucking hate it when people say shit like this

Well, I respond sweetly, it is unique to her - its the only name she's got

Hmm...she said in reply while looking me over from head to toe - I felt like I was in high school again.
Not really original but I guess its a cute name - did you pick it because of what it means? Or because there's like a cool famous person with that name?

No, we picked it because we liked the name. We picked it because when we said Lucy out loud, it felt right.....

But I thought you did not know what you were having?

I didn't, I replied

Then why would you pick a name out? I mean why would you not wait until you knew what you were having and then figure out a name...and maybe it would have been better, you would have had more time to work on it....the name I mean

Really?!?! She said that out loud?!?!
I took a deep breath and counted to 10 before I answered (see New Year's Resolution #5)

I heard a sound that was like Ahh coming out of my mouth and then I could not even bring myself to answer, I could not bring myself to respond to her question/statement because 1. it was not rationale and 2. I'm not sure she understood or appreciated the gravity of what she was even saying to me.....

(Husband's name) says you and Sean aren't having more kids because you're old and can't afford it; is that really the reason? You should just get your parents to give you money - that's what we did. And if you have credit cards, well, we just got as many as we could and we use those - should last us a couple years.....or is it because you're heavy?

Again, this is what a 10-13 year age difference gets you.....

I smiled at her, congratulated her on having picked out a name, wished her well and excused myself from her company.

For the record:
We picked Lucy because we liked Lucy (the name not the baby, though now we really like the baby/toddler too)

Her middle name, Ellen, was chosen by my Great Uncle Ed.
We knew that whatever we had (boy or girl), we wanted the boy to be named after Uncle Ed and the girl to have Aunt Nell's name. Had we a boy, the name would have been Edward Thomas (Edward after Uncle Ed, Thomas after the son Aunt Nell and Uncle Ed lost when he was a young boy)
We wanted a variation of Aunt Nell's name for the little girl's middle name...but here's the thing - Aunt Nell hated her name! She hated it so much, I will respect her by not even sharing it with you (Nell was a moniker for her real name)!
Anyway, we were over there one day to let them know what we had chosen for names and about our dilemma for getting Aunt Nell's name into the girl's name. Uncle Ed had gone all quiet (I think he was still a bit choked up about the boy name we had chosen) I remember telling Aunt Nell that I considered Ava for the middle name (that was her Mum's name) but Uncle said Ellen....her middle name will be Ellen. Ellen, he declared is NELL backwards with an extra Lucy Ellen she became.

No, Lucy is not short for anything, her name is Lucy Ellen Sykes.
Not Lucille, not Lucia, not Lucinda, not Lucille, not Lucetta....just plain old LUCY. And yes, Lucy is considered a proper name and yes, there is a Saint Lucy and no, we did not pick it because it has English origins and Sean is English. We picked it because we liked it...

Yes, I know Lucy means light or dawn and no, she was not born in the morning, she was born at 11:28pm, on a Thursday

No, she was not named after a famous Lucy...though I secretly hoped she'd look like Lucy Van Pelt from Peanuts but she actually looks more like Sally from Peanuts with her blond hair!

 No, we do not feel like we are too old to be parents. But, we are very aware of the fact that as I age, I being the child bearing one, there are certain risks that are greater - and we had our fair share of scares during my pregnancy. And no, I did not share all those scares - they were for Sean and I to deal with; they were for us to work through. No reason getting everyone around us riled up....

No, we are not poor. We do however live in a state with the highest health care costs (we pay 600+ a month for insurance and yes, that is on a company policy and yes, the company actually pays the MAJORITY of the cost and no, that does not include co-pays or the deductible).
We live in a state with pretty high real estate prices, so what we pay for a home monthly is double what some of our friends and family members in other states pay...but we have a home and though it  may be small and a few have looked down their noses at it, we're proud of it.
We live in a state where child care is outrageous - we pay in child care almost as much as we pay for our mortgage - and by almost, I mean that our day care if a mere  $350 less than our mortgage. We could almost have two homes!
Have we considered my not working - sure. But when you also factor in that my insurance plan cost less than Sean's and has better coverage...and given the health of all three of us (no, no one is dying but Lucy has a heart condition, ongoing issues with her ears, Sean needs certain tests for his eyes, he has a family history of heart problems and, he's got that damn CPAP Well, without going in to much detail, my girl bits sometimes need special attention and can at times require multiple tests and scans) my plan makes the most sense.
Then, factor in that we're also trying to save for our retirement and contribute to a 401K, well, it does not make sense for me to not work yet. Might make sense for me to go part time when Lucy is in school - we'll see.

I know people who have kids 5 years they never have two kids in day care at the same time. One is in school, public school so taxes take care of that, and one in day care. But I'm pushing 40 - kids 5 years apart is not a viable option

And yes, I know we choose to live in this state and yes, I know we could move but, we don't feel like that is a viable option for us right now so, we're making the best and most of what we have and the choices we've made - and no, I'm not complaining......we own these decisions and choices.....I'm just trying to paint a picture, answer the question and be honest

Never crossed my mind that I was too fat to have a child - chubby if fat is too harsh of a word for me to use and you to hear. There are women out there far larger than I am who have birthed children and are, as we speak preggers (I know at least 4 that fit in to those categories) so stop obsessing about my weight - and yes, I know I'm chubby but I'm OK with it so how about you back off and leave it alone?

Wrong with me or Sean:
There is nothing wrong with Sean. He can reproduce with no issue; thanks for being concerned about his sperm count. one time, there was great concern about my being able to carry a child to term....while I was pregnant, I think I was 7 months along, I made a comment about it to Dr Wu. She gave me a Mandarin hush and told me not to jinx it! She said God must really want you to have this baby - I agreed and we never spoke about it again...even when my monthly appointments turned into weekly appointments long before they should have....and every week, she hooked me up, monitored me and baby, held my hand and told me how many more weeks she wanted me to stay pregnant - so I did. After I had Lucy, at one of my after the baby is born appointments, she asked me to think about if we wanted more children....Lucy was only a couple months old, I told her we had not even thought about it. She reminded me how lucky I was to have have a baby...she told me that as much as she wanted us to have more, she wanted me to be aware of all the risks, she wanted me to understand the position I would be putting myself in...not the baby but me. I'm not sure I ever appreciated the severity of what she was trying o tell me, I do now. And when we talk about more kids, it comes up......

Can we not handle more than one:
I think every parent at some point wonders if they can handle multiple children....and any parent that says they don't, I think, is lying. Yeah, the first year  or so with Lucy was tough because she had so many issues with her ears and croup and blah blah blah...and sure, sometimes we wondered if our marriage could handle the stress (as I'm sure most new parents would admit to if they were truly being honest) and yeah, we wondered what would happen if the issues were multiplied by two but, I'm pretty sure, regardless of what people may think, we'd be just fine with more than one child.....we have more resolve than people give us credit for - and we love each other more than we both sometimes realize - so I think we'd be fine

Hated being pregnant:

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I loved being pregnant.

Not because it made me feel like more of a woman or because it connected me to some cosmic mother earth entity or because I could eat whatever I wanted....I loved being preggers because it was something, someone, Sean and I did together - it was ours, she is ours. No one can take her away or have any claim - no one can say it was their idea or take credit for it - Lucy is the one thing in this whole world that is 100% ours.
Sure, she's got DNA from my family and DNA from Sean's family and yeah, she looks like our nieces and at certain angles, looks like my sister Felicia...and has the Kearns gift of gab and the Sykes flair for drama....but we made her - she's ours.
No one can ever deny, negate or take that away.
No one can compete or trump can have a bigger house, a better wedding, a nicer car, designer clothes, take cool trips but you will never have Lucy (I sound a bit jealous there and I'm not trying to be, just trying to make a point)
Plus, I got to eat fish sticks......

I forget how pregnant I was, must have been in January, we had an appointment at Mass General because I was a high risk pregnancy (not  just because of my age).
We headed into Boston giddy at the prospect of being out of work for the afternoon and were like two excited kids waiting to see the doctor......we loved seeing the ultra sounds of Baby Sykes.  At that appointment, of which we had already had two I think, we were told Lucy (who, might I reminded you we did not  know was Lucy) had a high probability of having Downs.
At first, I don't think we processed what was being said to us, but when we did, we were sent back out to the waiting room to wait to speak with a counselor - and I remember sitting there with tears running down my cheek...I kept my head down so no one would see me and kept pushing Sean's hand away as I knew if I took it, the sobs would come to the surface and I would lose total control.
I excused myself to the hallway and rested my head against the windows wondering how those three sentences could take me from such a high to such a low - and then I remember feeling guilty for thinking of it as a low...but again, if we're being honest, any parent that has been told something may be "wrong" with their baby is devastated on a number of levels for a number of reasons......and yes, that appointment scared the shit out of us. We opted not to find out until the baby was born  (an amnio carried with it too high of a risk of miscarriage and I nearly lost my shit when someone suggested terminating the pregnancy...terminate this you big jerk!)

The day I had Lucy, moments before being taken into the surgical room, I asked Dr Wu if they would tell us if the baby had Downs and she and the nurse who stayed with me (I'm embarrassed I can't remember her name) told me they would let me know that our baby was safe and sound and ready to take on the world, and anything else they had to tell me would only make this baby that much more to not worry and just let them get my baby for me.....I don't remember much after that....

I do remember the next morning when she was put on my chest that something inside me broke - and I was overcome with this intangible indescribable emotion and feelings that I had never felt before and did not know how to react to or control.....that emotion and those feelings are still with me today

We're pretty good parents; our love is unconditional for her and for one another.....sort of trumps the size of our house, the number of kids we have, the money in our bank accounts, and anything else you want to judge us on


Lucy Ellen is a perfect name

Maria the Mum

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Dear Lucy

Dear Lucy,

Please stop growing up!

As much as I want to see you succeed, as much as I want you to charm the world as you’ve charmed me, as much as I want you to experience what God has in store for you, please stop growing up!

As much as I want you to find love as I did with your Dad, as much as I want to some day hold your babies, and as much as I want you to know the joys of motherhood, please, stop growing up!

As much as I want to see you climb onto the school bus for the first time, come home with your first A (or B or C or whatever...ok, please no Ds or Fs) and as much as I want you to learn to read so you can transport yourself into whatever world you fancy, please, stop growing up!

Please. Stop. Growing. Up.

As selfish as I know that sentiment is, as self indulgent as it seems, I thrive on your reliance of me....

I wait for you to call me every morning to come and get you so we can 'nuggle.

I get through my work day knowing that at 5:15, when I walk into the room at school to pick you up, you may not come running right over because you’re busy doing a puzzle or digging in the dirt but you will flash me a smile as big as Texas thereby affirming my existence in this world.

I live for that moment when you call my name, reach for me, climb into my arms and then settle your head onto my shoulder...throw your arms around my neck and give me a squeeze...this is how I know I am alive.

I like how you hold my hand while you are falling asleep.....

I love that just before you fall asleep, your eyes flutter open to make sure I am still there and when you see I am, you let out a big sigh, close your eyes, squeeze my hand one more time then drift off to the land of your dreams....

Sure, I could do without your temper tantrums (and I'm sure you could do without mine) and all that comes with it (the kicking, the crying, the yelling, the not me)
And yeah, it would be great if we could get through a meal with no peas being flung, nothing chewed up and spit out and no droplets of milk dripping from my eye glasses.
Sure, I would love it if you gave us a little less attitude when we ask you to do (or not do) something
But really, I'm pretty lucky I get to be your Mum....and I'm pretty lucky to be your Mum with your Dad as your Dad.....

So I guess there is no need for you to change anything....but please, stop growing up!

We had so much fun this weekend - Pizza Party Friday night just because (so what if you ended up having Mac and Cheese) And not 1 but 2 popsicles for dessert!

The Zoo on screeched with laughter at the monkeys and chimps, waved at the lions, yelled at the tigers, fed the parakeets and chased the goats You tried so hard to stay awake but when we stopped for lunch, after three solid hours of nonstop running, you fell asleep before we could even unwrap your meal. We stopped at Ikea on the way home and you and Daddy ran around silly like you do.....after you ate two plates of meatballs!

We came home with Peter Puppy (I know you want a real puppy and maybe someday....but for now, stuffed puppies need to be loved to!) and then it was movie night. Babe made me cry in a couple spots but you giggled your way through it - well, most of were tired and falling asleep so we promised we’d save it for Sunday

We went off to the Aquarium bright and early Sunday and you laughed at the penguins, touched the sting rays and sharks, chased the turtle up the big tank, waved at the sea lions and spent who knows how long petting the star fish the crabs and the sea urchins. A walk over to Quincy Market and you were asleep before we made it from one end to the other.

Your dream day ended with a trip to Target where we purchased you a Potty.....and that was when it hit me, you're growing up....and nothing I can do will stop it.

So we took you home, fed you, bathed you, snuggled together to watch the end of Babe and I watched you fall asleep...holding your hand and silently praying you would not grow up.

Monday we took you for a haircut, you looked like a big girl perched in the chair - and then off to buy some new books - you had your heart set on one about a whale - which of course we found for you.
When we got home, you proceeded to cover you entire body with stickers....and when we pulled them off, you whimpered and complained and I worried about the blotches they left on your skin...but ten minutes later, you were covered in stickers again.

An afternoon spent making a mess of the house (we had fun!) and collecting more acorns...your pink bucket is now overflowing but you have more buckets to  fill.....and as the day, and seemingly our summer, came to an end, we had burgers and hot dogs on the grill.......and you ate your first corn on the cob, like a big girl....popsicles on the front porch, a bath and a story and you were in bed falling asleep as you muttered about everything you did over the excited to tell Rika about the animals you saw and the sting ray you touched.....

I sat and watched you after you feel asleep not quite ready to let go of your hand and that was when I tried to bargain with God...tried to talk him into letting you, and me and Daddy, stay right this time, in this life....

And then this morning, you called for me to come get you so we could 'nuggle....and as I was in the shower and Daddy was brushing his teeth, you slipped off your diaper, perched on your potty and peed.....

Daddy was proud, you were excited, I poked my head out and gave you a high five.....and silently asked you to please, stop growing up.....

At breakfast you insisted on having acorns with your waffles....we obliged and gave you a bowl which you proceeded to overfill with acorns...and Daddy chased down rolling acorns while you giggled and I kept glancing at the clock wishing it could last Friday again...and that you would stop growing up.

Daddy said you were quiet on the way to school as you often are after a long weekend home with us....I was quiet on my way into work too....I did not want our weekend to end...I do not want you to grow up and I do not want us to grow old...I want it to be like this for longer than nature allows.....

I want you to see what the world has to offer and I want you to realize what you have to offer the world....but does it have to happen so fast?

I'm not ready to send you off to school on the bus or to see your first tooth fall out or to have you come home and tell me you did not get invited to someone’s party or that you were picked last in gym class.

I'm not ready for you to get your feelings hurt and suffer a blow or defeat that will affect you for the rest of your life....

I'm not ready for you to grow up and struggle to figure out your place amongst your peers because even though it will seem like the end of the world, it won’t be...but it will feel like it and it will have an impact on how you live the rest of your life and who you become....and some may accuse me of being dramatic but deep down, we all remember the first time someone made fun of us at school or when we weren’t invited to someone’s party or when we were turned around from cool kids' table.....

And I'm not ready to deal with you being the cool kid who turns someone away from your table...but if I do my job right, you’ll be the cool kid who invites everyone to sit at her table.....

Dear Lucy....sweet Lucy...please stop growing up....but if you must.......

Remember I love you...unconditionally and forever and always
Remember your manners - please, thank you and you're welcome with a smile will get you farther in life than a snarl on your face and a threatening tone
Remember that everyone is someone's daughter, son, mother, father, sister or kind to them
Remember that you can always come home...I don’t know where it will be but our door will always be open no matter what you do or don’t do....
Remember that if I’m feeling like this and you’re only 2, I'll probably be a mess when you’re 16 so cut me some slack....
Remember that it always gets better - growing up sucks....becoming an adult sucks....but it always gets will sometimes get rougher but then it always gets better
Remember to have fun.....we get old because we stop having fun; we don’t stop having fun because we get old....
Remember your Dad's birthday and Father's Day....and if you can manage mine as well, along with Mother’s Day, that would be great
Remember to call us when you'll be late
Remember that when we say No, there is a better reason than you realize, and though it may not be clear at that moment in time, someday you'll be glad we said no
Remember that we will make mistake...we will screw up and subsequently screw you up to a degree...we will do and say things we will wish we could take back second after it happens.....and I know that no matter how many times I say I'm sorry the damage will have been done...just try not to hold against me for too long
Remember that I was a kid once too - I was struggling to figure out my place in this world and at 39, I still don't have it all figured out.....neither will you and that's okay....just remember that when you're 39, I will still love you as I did when you were 2....
Remember to say your prayers
Remember I will always be proud of you
Remember to call your grandparents
Remember to fasten your seat belt, look both ways before your cross the street and Yield and Stop are not the same thing
Remember that you don’t have to be the best at everything you do, just give it your best
Remember that there are times you will fail, does not mean you are a failure
Remember to laugh, to smile, to cry, to breathe, to love, and to dance
Remember the Alamo
Remember to respect yourself as much as you respect those around you
Remember to do unto other as you would have done to you (this is from Baby Jesus, Mummy's not that smart)
Remember I love you.......

This started out as me asking you not to grow up....and was instigated by my recollection of what a great weekend we had...and is ending with my first batch of Things to Remember for you.....sometimes you’re Mum is really all over the place....remember to cut me some slack....

And Dear Lucy? Please stop growing fast....

I love you to the moon and back, until Niagara Falls and with a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck

Maria, the Mum

Sunday, September 4, 2011

I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV

We were in the car today headed home....I was driving and Sean was in the passenger seat.

He was looking at Lucy who was sitting behind me and commented on her cuteness...gorgeous eyes, beautiful blond hair....and trying to decide where it came from

So he turns to Lucy and says

Lucy, are you adopted?

No Daddy, I not a doctor, I a monkey.....

Maria, the Mum

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, September 2, 2011

Please make sure your belt is properly fastened....

I've been going to the gym for a couple weeks now, doing better about watching what I eat, avoiding the jar of Hershey Kisses and the sleeves of Oreos here at the office......I've not even plowed through the bag of Kettle Corn Sean brought home with him from the AFF....over 3/4 of it is still in the pantry

So imagine my excitement this morning when I arrived at the office and as I was walking in, realized that my pants were loose and falling down!!!

Then imagine my disappointment when I went to the lady's room and realized I forgot to button my pants.....

Maria, the Mum

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Please Look After This Bear

I read the Bangor Daily News ( every morning - that's the hometown newspaper.

First, I scan the headlines and if there is one that catches my eye, I'll stop and read the article right then - but usually, I just scan the home page and then go straight to the Obituaries...morbid, I know.....

For some reason, the obits have this hold, this allure over me - and I feel it is my humane duty to read said obits, say a prayer for the souls who have departed this world and then go back to reading the rest of the paper.......

So I'll go back to the first page and read the articles that go with the headlines
Then I check the letters to the Editor (mine have never been published)
Police Beat is up next; I like to see who is wreaking what kind of havoc in the Pine Tree State (and if I know any of them).
If it is Monday, I also check the Wedding/Engagement Announcements

The Monday morning, the very first name I read in the Obituaries was that of my third grade teacher, Mrs Alley.

My first reaction was Huh, she was only 80
My second reaction was to say a quick prayer for her
And my third reaction, which I'm going to admit surprised me, was one of great sadness

Reaction 1: Huh, she was only 80
When I was in the 3rd grade, I thought Mrs Alley was old - I mean like really really old...if you had asked me how old she was when I was in the 3rd grade, I probably would have told you I thought she was like 70.....old like my grandmother ....

Turns out, she was only 50 when she was my teacher...which  means my grandmother was around 56...which just goes to show when you're a kid, you really have little or no concept of age.

I think of my Mum at 50 and I never would have called her old - she did not look old, she did not dress old, she did not act Mum dressed from Talbot's (not as old lady as a couple sisters might think), never wore nude nylons, tweed or polyester skirts or orthopedic shoes despite her knee problems. She never tucked tissues up her sleeve, said things like children should be seen and not heard and I'm pretty sure she could not stand Lawrence 50 my mother was still working full time, still had a couple kids at home (my youngest sister was maybe 13/14 when my mother was 50) and still rocking out to '80s music....Mum was not an old 50...she's not even an old late 60 something......

Mrs Alley was old. She dressed old, looked old, wore nude nylons that sagged around her ankles in her orthopedic shoes and moved old.....and some would say she was mean...I think a couple of my younger sisters had her and said she was mean and that she exercised certain punishments that may or may not have been questionable.

When I was in her class, my mother had her 7th and final baby. I remember going in and telling Mrs Alley my mother had another baby. She peered at my from over her glass and in that old person disapproving judgemental tone said something to the effect of
Humph. Another one?
Yeah! I answered all excited, for I did not quite understand her tone, And its a girl! I have another little sister and I'm going to read to her!
To which she responded something about that would get old faster than I realized....I'm not sure if she meant reading to a younger sibling or having another (read 5th) younger sister

Reaction 2:
I always say a quick prayer for whomever has passed away. Sometimes its just a Bless Bless in my head for all the obits I've just read - but for Mrs Alley, after reading her obituary and realizing that she had 4 children of her own, a bunch of grandkids, a handful of siblings and lots of nieces and nephews, I felt she deserved a Hail Mary on top of a the prayer for the dead.

When I was a kid in school, I never thought of my older teachers as having being wives, mothers, grandmothers or aunts...I just assumed they had always been old and were just here to be teachers...again, I was a pretty naive kid and who knows how my little brain worked back then...hell, I'm still trying to figure it out

I knew that some of my teachers had families because their kids were in my class......and I remember when one of my teachers got married - she was a student teacher while she was planning her wedding and then came back as Mrs Lent and was my 5th grade teacher (she taught me to knit slippers, I made like 100 pairs of ugly green slippers...her first name was Roxanne and I thought that was just the coolest name I had ever for a spell, I totally wanted to be her...and if I remember correctly, she and her husband used to ride motorcycles which was even cooler) But other than that well, I guess I just did not realize that teachers had families, that teachers were not just teachers.....I just did not think of Mrs Alley as having a family...I just thought she was a teacher, I did not realize there was more to her life than being my 3rd grade teacher

Reaction 3:
Reading about Mrs. Alley's passing really  made me sad. I'm not sure why...I was never one of her favorite students (I used to get in trouble for talking in her class and reading ahead in my books) and I don't think I ever saw her again once I left the 3rd grade....but I was sad

I was sad because I realized my childhood is farther and farther away from me

I was sad because she left behind a family who seemed to adore their mother/grandmother/aunt

I was sad because I realized, as I read a short summary of her life, that there was so much more to her than being my 3rd grade teacher:
She was a volunteer at the AFF for 8 years (started when she was 70)
She was a volunteer usher at the Maine Performing Arts Center
She camped, bird watched, fished, loved boating and hiking (last year, she hiked Bald Rock at 79!)
She cooked hot dogs on a stick and made S'mores
I also learned she was predeceased by two grandchildren...I hope she sees them again when she gets wherever she is going

I was sad because however mean some of her students may have thought her to be, I liked her because she used to read us Paddington Bear...she was one of the three teachers who instilled in me a love for reading and to this day, the Paddington Bear "chapter books" are some of my favorites to read.

When I was done with whatever book we were supposed to be reading for class, she did not make me wait for the next book to be assigned, she'd give me one to "tide me over."

Sure, she may have been a bit harsh when she asked if I really read the assigned book and yes, she scared me a bit when she peered at me over her glasses while quizzing me about the book (because she thought I did not read it).....
Sure, she may have been a little gruff when she handed me the new book to read....but she always handed me a new book. She used to pull it out of her desk drawer, it was never on the shelf with the other books...and it always had her name written on the inside cover. She would tell me it was one of her favorites and then she would tell me to enjoy it and we'd talk about it when I was done (which meant an intimidating oral quiz)
She always told me to enjoy the books she gave me, no point in reading of you don't enjoy the book she said....and I did....I enjoyed and savored the books she gave me....I even enjoyed the quizzes if for no other reason, she would begrudgingly give me a half smile when I answered all her questions correctly

There was a picture of Mrs Alley in the paper holding one of her grandchildren (maybe even her great grandchild) who was just a little bitty baby...she looked so happy...she looked like a Mom, an Aunt and so much like a grandmother whose lap you want to curl up in while she reads you a story....

A Bear Called Paddington (Michael Bond, 1958)
Chapter 1: Please Look After This Bear

Mr and Mrs Brown first met Paddington on a railway platform. In fact, that was how he came to have such an unusual name for a bear,  for Paddington was the name of the station.

Maria, the Mum